Jesse Torres’ portrait of New Orleans is harrowing and chilling. The film gives an honest foray into the brooding shadows of the forsaken side of town. It depicts a world ravished by nature and forgotten by people, shedding those still around as naked and hopeless. Hurricane Katrina, in the midst of its ten year anniversary, is not entirely resolved, and Hope Ain't Help paves way to its aborted rescue.
The atmospheric tone is articulated through a dawdling mosey through the city, borrowing the eyes of a nameless man (Zeus Campbell), backdropped by news reports of the state of the disaster. Shaken by glimpses of what used to be, the man revisits special memories in places that now rest empty, void of any promise of life.
The recovery of New Orleans is incomplete. Its discussion and progression have fallen cold and silent. Hope Ain't Help is that glance, the flutter of hope that’s grown dim inside, the quivering of lips before apologetic tears gloss at the eyes, and the twisting of the heart that rings a reticent call for rescue.
Tremayne Johnson produced the film. His oversight keeps the film tight. The collaboration of Dexter Cohen and Jesse Torres is seamless. Campbell's performs with an exhaustion and weariness that's speechless. The absence of dialogue is a testament to how there's nothing to be said about the lack of help in New Orleans. The visuals are raw, gritty, and unfortunately, honest.
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